Cyclical stocks retained their monthly leadership roles this week following several positive vaccine developments, but the S&P 500 (-0.8%) and Dow Jones Industrial Average (-0.7%) finished in negative territory. The Russell 2000 climbed 2.4%, and the Nasdaq Composite increased 0.2% despite relative weakness in the technology stocks.
Briefly, Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) filed for emergency use authorization for their COVID-19 vaccine after concluding their Phase 3 study, which indicated that their vaccine is 95% effective; Moderna (MRNA) said its vaccine is 94.5% effective; and AstraZeneca (AZN) and Oxford’s vaccine showed encouraging immune responses in older patients in Phase 2 data.
The S&P 500 energy sector set the performance pace with a 5.0% gain to extend its monthly gain to 23%. The industrials (+1.1%), materials (+1.1%), and financials (+0.5%) sectors followed suit, and the Philadelphia Semiconductor Index (+1.9%) and the SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT, +5.5%) were other pockets of strength this week.
The semiconductor space was fueled by news that Taiwan Semi (TSM) is expanding production capacity to meet high demand from chip companies. The retail space drew support from a host of better-than-expected earnings reports from retailers like Walmart (WMT) and Target (TGT).
Conversely, the information technology sector (-0.9%) was an influential drag on index performance, and the counter-cyclical utilities (-3.9%), health care (-3.0%), and real estate (-1.7%) sectors declined noticeably.
Separately, Boeing (BA) shares gained 7% in part due to the FAA approving the 737 MAX safe to fly again, Tesla (TSLA) shares surged 20% on news it will be added to the S&P 500 on Dec. 21, and Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) shares fell 12% following the launch of Amazon’s (AMZN) online pharmacy business.
The 10-yr yield fell six basis points to 0.86% amid increased demand despite the encouraging vaccine news.
Source: Briefing Investor